Many years ago I was interviewed by a man in the UK named Kevin Healey regarding Autisable’s efforts within the Autism community.
Prior to the interview I had to do some research on who Kevin was and what he was a part of …. after all, I need to know who I’m going to be speaking with and what they are about.
I noticed in my initial research that Kevin did a lot for the Autism community in the UK, with a Radio program, and other organizations he’s served on over the years.
I also took note that Kevin is also on the Autism Spectrum.
Now think about this a moment….
I am considered by many to be neurotypical… or, as some may say… normal. In short, I’m not Autistic. Kevin, however, is Autistic.
So, here I am, an Autism Dad going to be interviewed by someone who is on the Spectrum that resides and does a lot of work in the United Kingdom for the Autism community.
Now I’ve been interviewed by people here in the USA, in Jamaica, and for other blogs and websites. But this interview was the first done by someone who is actually Autistic.
This is a significant point when dealing with the topic of bullying and what Kevin has since had to deal with online since even before I’ve met him.
So, let’s address the topic of bullying and my experience with Kevin over the years.
First, bullying is caused by many factors. Some of these factors are as simple as miscommunication or misunderstanding. People may think someone acts differently or is annoying, and they joke or ridicule them because of their difference.
I personally experienced some bullying online with various threats of legal action by someone living in Canada. They asked that Autisable cease our efforts or legal action would be taken. They shared this openly online and in various e-mails and direct messages. As it turned out, this same individual was doing the same level of attacks upon Kevin. Suffice it to say, I experience an attack alongside Kevin in our efforts to promote Autism awareness and understanding.
Most of the time, bullying online happens because people are bored – or they get fixated – or the people bullying think they are having fun. But the damaging result of bullying can lead to such detrimental results such as people losing their jobs or committing suicide. It’s a serious matter and not to be taken lightly.
Autisable is known online as an unbiased website where we share anything Autism related. Our twitter account retweets and shares just about anything you can think of regarding the topic of Autism. The good, the bad… and yes, even the ugly name calling bullying side. We want to promote any discussion so we can put the issues out there for people to discuss.
We tend to let conversations run their course, and monitor and respond if necessary. I have talked with my team over the years about what we post on the site, and how although we try to be unbiased, we also have to be sensitive to people’s journey dealing with an already controversial topic called Autism.
This takes us to our current situation. Someone responded to our twitter account accusing Kevin of bullying, and the team asked them to DM us the information. After all, we’ve known Kevin over the years and don’t take any accusations on this matter lightly.
We said that we will review the information and respond. I won’t share who all is involved in the accusation. Nor will I share the various screen shots and links of what was sent to us. Just know that there are people who have accused Mr. Healey of bullying.
Many of the screen shots sent to us were of Kevin, or his anti-bullying campaign twitter accounts, trying to get information from various people to discuss bullying.
I will say that Kevin is a very focused and passionate individual. And sometimes having a passion for a topic can be rather off putting. After all, if you have a passion for something so great, you want to pursue that passion with some intensity – right? Well, in that regard Kevin is no different than the rest of us. But also his diagnosis of having autism is a contributing factor of how he may act or respond. It’s part of who he is, and understanding his diagnosis more would help anyone to understand him more.
In regards to the information sent to us, and after discussing it with the team here on Autisable… here’s our determination of these accusations towards Mr. Healey being a bully…
We disagree that he his a bully. We’ve determined the issue is not bullying, but rather miscommunication between all parties – and lack of effort to understand and respond to Mr. Healey appropriately. Mr. Healey’s only fault was his repetitive efforts at obtaining a response.
His actions, although passionate, are a part of who he is as an individual. The various responses by those he was trying to communicate with showed their lack of understanding of Autism and of Mr. Healey. Having Autism doesn’t give Mr. Healey a pass at certain actions he may have taken, but it does help explain why he may have responded the way he did.
What we’ve found is that the items sent to us were of screen shots and links where a significant amount of miscommunication happened between the accusers and Mr. Healey. Out of this miscommunication and lack of effort – the situation escalated to where accusations were introduced.
Now communication is best when all parties involved actually take serious effort to understand each others perspectives.
Did Mr. Healey respond in the best possible way to the people he was trying to communicate with? Possibly not. But are any of us perfect in how we respond to everything we deal with on a daily basis? Again, possibly not. We could also state that did what the accusers of Kevin being a bully act in the best possible way? Possibly not.
As with most situations involving bullying, much can be resolved through discussion offline, or in more than 140 characters. And in most situations it’s a matter of having an understanding of the individual and what they deal with on a daily basis and seeing it first hand.
We have seen people call Kevin Healey all sorts of names online. From retard, to idiot, and the list goes on. After reviewing the social media accounts of those who accused Mr. Healey of being a bully, we’ve found similar words being used on their accounts. This is one of the reasons that we don’t want to call attention to them and share what they shared the with our team.
Out of respect to all involved, we also want to make sure we don’t provide direct negative attention to anyone who inspired this particular blog post.
This post is to address the issue of Bullying, and sharing an example of what one individual in the community deals with on a regular basis to address the issue of bullying.
Sad to say, this situation is more about lack of communication between the parties involved – rather than bullying on Kevin’s part. Therefore these are accusations that do not hold up in our eyes, based on our observations and review… and our experience with Kevin Healey over the past 5+ years.
We can only encourage you to T.H.I.N.K. before posting anything online. You can start by asking the following questions:
Is it TRUE?
Get down to the core of the issues that state the truth. Keep communication lines open and talk things out with individuals you have issues with. Build bridges to get over potential assumptions and accusations. In the current situation we’ve found a lot of discrepancies due to lack of communication. Now whether that lack of communication was intentional or unintentional by one or all parties involved doesn’t matter, as the fact remains that the truth couldn’t have been discussed appropriately and thus the subsequent accusations came forth.
Is it HELPFUL?
Does the situation help another individual in some way? How can accusing someone of something help the person you accuse? Talk it out, encourage them.
In this situation, and due to lack of communication between the parties – the only level of help that could come from it was a post like this one.
Is it INSPIRING?
Is what your posting prompting people to think about others more than themselves in a positive way?
How could Kevin being accused of bullying, or his responses to those he was trying to communicate with – be an inspirational moment? For us, it inspired this response. Sometimes bullying is our lack of trying to see more than ourselves. It inspired us to show a bit more empathy and compassion for all those involved.
Is it NECESSARY?
Some things may be true, could be helpful or inspiring…. but is it really necessary to share it? sometimes it’s best to let things take their own course and let a situation go.
Other times it’s necessary to shine the light on a situation to see how it could have been handled better. We present this blog post as a response to share the situation as we see it, and hopefully better actions can be taken in the future.
Is it KIND?
Kindness is something we need more of. It’s an attitude to have when dealing with anything in life. It’s not a weakness. In fact, it takes more strength to be kind than to be unkind.
In this example we saw how all parties involved could have handled it better, and it usually starts with at least one person stepping up to be kind. And if it’s not the other person being kind, than it’s time to look in the mirror.
We know that this response may come under some potential negative comments, considering the subjects and the topic in question.
All we can do is encourage everyone to Think before they post…. and please remember to be kind.
– The Autisable Team.
Source: Autisable – Main